After a string of hearings sometimes so raucous with foot stomping and chanting that officials asked police to stand sentry, Easttown’s zoning board has – drum roll – ruled on Berwyn Square.
Both sides claim partial victory – although, arguably, the bigger win went to the developers.
But this one’s far from over.
“Folks are as committed and resolute as they have been from the start that the legal standards haven’t been met. I wouldn’t be surprised if neighbors appeal,” says their pro-bono attorney Joe Kohn.
Even more definite was a leader of neighbors opposing the project, Michael DeFlavia. “We will not yield… The matter will be decided in the courts and it will be a long process … We will press on,” he vowed, in one of his long, impassioned Facebook posts.
The developer’s dug in, too. “We’re in this for the long haul,” David Della Porta of Cornerstone Tracy tells SAVVY. “Some development is going to occur here.”
To recap: Developers Todd Pohlig and Cornerstone Tracy want to replace Handels Ice Cream, a strip center, warehouse and office building with a four-story, retail/apartment building with a mini “town square” in one corner. (Handels would take a retail space.)
But the developers say environmental issues have forced them to raise the roof – precisely seven more feet and one story higher than Easttown zoning allows. And so Pohlig and Cornerstone Tracy did what developers do: they asked for special exceptions to the zoning rules.
Then all hell broke loose.
A zealous Facebook group, a petition and yard signs brought hundreds of folks to eight hearings.
Which, at times, got mighty testy, with some “not feeling safe,” according to assistant township manager Eugene Briggs. After a few meetings that were “not respectful or calm,” Briggs says some residents and zoning hearing board members asked for police guards at the hearings.
Last week, the zoning board at last issued its ruling.
Developers got the four-story height variance – but they have to “step back” the fourth floor ten feet on all sides so the building looks less imposing.
Assuming plans are redrawn, Della Porta estimates the total number of apartments might shrink by a handful or so.
But the developers were shot down completely on their other big ask. The board is insisting on all five loading docks, required by code for a building of that scale. Builders had hoped for just two. (They’d already amended their original plan to add a second berth on Lancaster Ave.)
While he still needs to study the written decision, Della Porta says the loading-zone decision is a head scratcher. He says the extra berths would result in a “poorer streetscape,” i.e. less sidewalk, green space and landscaping, and “more truck traffic going through the neighborhood.” The board may be overestimating the need for delivery docks because small deliveries (Amazon, etc.) could be delivered directly inside the garage or to the management office, he says.
And as for neighborhood crusader De Flavia’s stated “belief” that builders will simply go back to the Planning Commission to ask for fewer than five loading zones, Della Porta says nothing doing. “He doesn’t understand the process. The only course, based on the current zoning application, is an appeal. We could file other variance requests but not the same one.”
Both sides say they’ll study the written ruling this week. Each has 30 days to file an appeal with the Chester County Court of Common Pleas.
Audience eruptions notwithstanding, zoning officer Briggs says he “grateful to the public for providing valuable guidance” to the board.
He also applauded the zoning hearing board. “They’re volunteer residents and they put a lot of personal time and consideration into this application.”
Do appeals stop developments from moving forward? Not automatically, but developers do tend to proceed more cautiously, Della Porta says. “The risk is clear. We could lose, and spend all this money.”
What’s his track record in court? we wondered. “We’ve won every appeal we’ve ever had – either from a township or neighbors group.”
Of course, there’s always a first time.
Meanwhile, over in Devon…
At the other end of feisty Easttown, scores of folks continue to buck any zoning change that would permit a parking garage across from the Devon Horse Show.
Their chief argument: it would be U-G-L-Y.
Their attorney (Joe Kohn again) even showed township planners these before-and-after images: Current view of the fairgrounds from Devon Yard:
and a conjectured view if a “Devon Blue” garage had been plopped down on the site:
At last Monday’s special meeting, Easttown’s planning commission said it was time to get the approval process rolling.
After months of study, they’d settled on new boundaries for the planned “smart growth” Devon Center District. And – yup – the horse show’s big parking lot across from the main gate on Dorset Ave. is now inside the lines. Which means it would get rezoned to allow commercial uses, like, say, a three-level garage.
Putting it in the new district “simply made sense,” says Mark Stanish, a Paoli architect who’s served on the commission for – yowza – 24 years. “It’s really an empty parcel and not part of Devon Horse Show fairgrounds,” Stanish says. (The actual fairgrounds will stay as they are – zoned residential – but a special equestrian use ordinance may be in the offing.)
But Kohn’s crew is adamant.
The township just isn’t listening, Kohn insists. “They’re rolling their eyes and sneering at the public.”
Devon is not Wayne, he says. Residents don’t want central Devon to be commercialized. “It doesn’t need urban renewal. New homes are being built. The tax base is fine …There doesn’t seem to be any public support for changing the zoning on that lot other than from a developer who came to a meeting or two. Who else does it benefit?”
Worth noting: The commission’s height and impervious-surface recommendations would effectively nix the boutique hotel and luxury apartment building floated early on by developer Eli Kahn. While planners certainly knew about Kahn’s vision – which was a sketch, never a formal submission – their proposed rules would squash it.
Kahn declined comment but smart money says he’s done with Easttown. He about said as much when planners hinted at the height restriction months ago.
Also worth pondering: Devon Yard has plenty of parking. The horse show needs a garage only a handful of weeks each year. If there’s nothing new nearby – a hotel, shops, something – who’s parking there? Commuters? What’s the impetus to spend mega-millions to build it?
Planners insists their stance is NOT rooted in the Horse Show’s hopes for a garage or Kahn’s vision. “The planning commission is not even slightly encouraging or condoning a garage there,” Stanish says.
The township is simply being proactive, says Easttown Township Zoning Officer/Assistant Township Manager Eugene Briggs. The whole point was to avoid the pitched battles of Devon Yard the next time a developer comes calling, he says.
Another huge issue for Kohn’s neighbors groups in both Devon and Berwyn: density rules or, in their opinion, the lack thereof.
“The most significant zoning change that will come out of this is the repeal of the eight units-per-acre density,” Kohn says, which was “completely concealed from the Devon Center project.”
Both Briggs and Stanish say neighbors are misguided – it’s not a “repeal.” The planning commission is treating Devon Center the way it treats Berwyn Village, in accordance with Easttown’s Comprehensive Plan, they say. Density is governed by rules for height, setbacks, parking and green-space rules, not the acreage yardstick commonly applied to strictly residential areas.
Devon Center planning was an open process, extended for months so all views could be heard, Stanish adds. “Nothing was snuck through … Just because you didn’t get what you wanted doesn’t mean we weren’t listening … No one wants to overdevelop Devon. We want a green township.”
He and Briggs allow that Kohn made “a lot of good and valid comments” which informed the planning process, but the commission has to consider the past, the present and future of the township and all 10,400 people who live in it.
Next steps: Briggs, Easttown’s attorney and its planning consultant huddle to craft a Devon Center zoning ordinance, based on the planning commission’s recs. The draft ordinance goes back to the commission, then to the board of supervisors, which circles in the county and holds public meetings.
So Kohn and neighbors still get plenty of chances to press their case.
Meanwhile, Briggs says the township’s door is open. “If a resident has a question or concern, I want them to come in and talk to me. I’m here to serve them.”
Icky air chases tenants out of luxurious One Ardmore … for good
Just when you thought the dust over seven-story One Ardmore had finally settled, it’s kicking up again.
Some former tenants claim their apartments (and not their sky-high rents) made them sick and they’ve lawyered up, according to Facebook posts, message boards and a front-page story in the Inquirer.
Massage therapist Hannah Wood told the Inky she suffered respiratory ailments and allergy attacks for months. She and her fiancé moved out Christmas week.
Sales consultant Matt Amici says he had respiratory and sinus issues, fatigue and anxiety, and blood tests showed high levels of mold. Amici and his wife moved out New Year’s Eve.
For leaving early, the tenants were given hefty fines, reportedly as high as $17K.
Amici had the building tested and varying levels of mold were found, says his attorney, Matthew Solomon, who says he knows five other One Ardmore residents who’ve complained of symptoms.
But the building’s owner, Aimco, is pushing back. Hard.
Aimco says tenants are spreading “misinformation and unscientific claims” on Facebook and message boards. In a statement to the Inquirer, Aimco said it “takes any claims of mold very seriously” and, under their leases, residents agreed to contact management if they suspected air-quality concerns. They failed to do so and used mold-testing “methodology not approved by the EPA … It’s a “landlord-tenant issue that’s in litigation,” Aimco said.
***Meanwhile, right around the corner on Lancaster Ave.: There have been significant revisions of the massive Piazza retail/apartment project. We’ll run down the changes proposed for Ardmore and a game-changing project in Bala Cynwyd in the next SAVVY***
Muddy waters roil Radnor
Radnor is rumbling with aftershocks from the township manager’s January Surprise: the clear-cutting of four acres at Rte. 30 and the Blue Route, a “gateway” to the township.
At the time, Radnor Township Manager Robert Zienkowski called his decision a smart culling of invasive and diseased trees and underbrush.
Others call it a rogue “cowboy action” that destroyed storm-water controls, displaced bird and animal habitats, and disrupted the local ecosystem.
Either way, the tree flap is giving folks fiscal and environmental fits.
What’s left of Radnor’s now-infamous traffic island? Lonely stumps and a dirt-covered hillock that, in heavy rains, have flooded Lancaster Ave. And, oh yeah, new unobstructed views of … a concrete sound barrier. Welcome to Radnor Township.
We won’t get into the whys and hows and what Zienkowski planned for the land. We’re assuming/hoping he had a plan. For their part, Radnor Commissioners and township staff will only say Zienkowski acted alone. They knew nothing.
For his stealth operation, Zienkowski, who, by most all accounts, served the township well for a decade, was suspended for 30 days and shortly thereafter, flat-out resigned. (He told the Inquirer it was time to leave anyway. The Board expects to name his permanent replacement in June.)
He got $60,000 severance – four months’ pay – and signed a non-disparagement clause on his way out the door. Thanks to that clause and the township’s employee confidentiality policy, most everything else remains murky as mud.
Still, Radnor Conservancy believes it saw clearly from Day One. The group read an outraged letter to Radnor Commissioners in late January, demanding assurances that this couldn’t happen in the future. And assorted citizens have been railing at township meetings ever since.
Brush off the dirt and one thing also seems clear: this imbroglio is wider than four acres. It will dip into taxpayer dollars.
To head off future mudslides from the barren hill, Radnor commissioners last week approved a plan to fund a $10,000 “erosion and sedimentation” study. And that’s just for starters.
“The plan is a top priority given the condition of the site so we’ll see new contours and grass growing there soon, all of which will help with runoff,” Radnor Board of Commissioners President Jack Larkin tells SAVVY. At that same Feb. 24 BOC meeting, there was much debate over whether the township should ask Penn Medicine if its $250,000 gift for a park that appears to have been scratched, could be used to fund the study. The township decided to ask Penn Med about the gift but, regardless, the erosion study is happening. No one wants Rt. 30 washed out again.
The BOC will also hear shortly from the Radnor Shade Tree Commission, tasked with outlining “three large-scale proposals” for the site and “guesstimating costs of each,” Larkin says. He speculates that options might range from “a pollinator garden at $50,000, native forest at $250,000, and a lit and maintained garden at $750,000.” The board will put its choice out to bid and “get the installation process under way.” Cha-ching. Unless, of course, a generous company/foundation/do-gooder steps forward.
Also on the table: an ordinance drafted by Larkin that would require the township, like any Radnor homeowner, to get an OK from the shade commission and submit a replanting plan before it cuts down any trees.
All well and good, but a fundamental question remains: How did Radnor get in this pricey predicament to begin with?
“Be the first. Be the best. Be different.” That’s the cool credo at Cryo Sculpt Revive, a new wellness oasis in somewhat parched Paoli.
Most everything here is cutting-edge – and often pioneering – but the touch is nice ’n soft, not pushy.
Still, amid the eco-sleek décor and warm smiles, an all-pro lineup of providers means business.
“Everything we do is results-oriented,” says co-founder Amie Hamel. “We love providing access to services that people might not otherwise know are available.”
A western offshoot of Strafford Chiropractic & Healing Center, Cryo Sculpt Revive occupies the second floor of the old Van Cleve, where Hamel and co-founder, Dr. Jenn Hartmann, have created a warren of private wellness spaces, a spa-like spot that looks like its services will cost oodles more than they actually do.
In one room is parked the BMW of infrared technologies, the Cocoon Fitness Pod, where you can recharge, control weight, improve sleep and fight inflammation. A 30-minute mini-vacay for your brain and bod under one shiny, white hood. (Multi-tasking high achievers can work out with resistance bands inside the Pod.)
Another room houses a second Main Line first: Cryoskin, a non-invasive magic wand that freezes away fat, cellulite and inches (they measure before and after), boosts metabolism and collagen, and rejuvenates the face. It’s also where skin maestro Luda Yankelavich offers medical aesthetics and customized skin care. In her arsenal: the newest high-tech hydrafacials, oxygen facials, microdermabrasion and medical-grade peels.
And coming very soon, another Main Line rarity: IV hydration therapy. While it’s not a trendy “drip bar” per se, clients will peruse a menu of “IV cocktails” to boost immunity, fight inflammatory/auto-immune diseases, help sports recovery, and, yes, ease hangovers.
Hate needles? Cryo Sculpt Revive is the Philly-area’s first and only provider of IVtoGo, a high-dose Vitamin C/anti-oxidant elixir. A shot down the hatch instead of a shot in the arm, IVtoGo is better absorbed and lasts longer than traditional IVs, its creators contend.
Down the hall, veteran aesthetic nurse Melissa Lees and physician Pat Riley handle the needles: Botox, injectable facial fillers, microneedling with the SkinPen, and soon, those IV drips.
Also available at Cryo Sculpt Revive: cutting-edge micro-nutrient testing and customized supplements. Multi-hatted Hartmann is a holistic dietitian with a BS in human anatomy as well as an internationally certified chiropractic sports physician and licensed massage therapist.
And finally, there’s Reiki energy healing with Leslie Joy Smith and customized therapeutic massage with Hamel, Jeannie Mercier and preeminent sports massage therapist and teacher, Jim Earley, who works with 38 college teams around the country.
Feel-good rubdowns certainly have their place but massage therapists at Cryo Sculpt Revive bring the house: cupping, GuaSha, fascia blasting, essential oils and assisted stretching.
Hamel and Hartmann gush about their providers. “We only hired seasoned people who are as passionate about their trade as they are about serving others,” Hamel says.
To stay ahead of the curve, Hartmann says she’s always “looking at stuff that’s going on in Europe and California.” It’s Hamel’s job to bring to life the novel ideas swirling around Hartmann’s busy brain.
“We create environments that serve people from all walks of life – from broke to billionaires,” Hartmann says. “They all have a place in our heart.”
The hope is that current patients at Strafford Chiropractic, which also has a Cocoon Pod and Cryoskin, will drive a few miles west to try aesthetic treatments and IVs.
“They may never have had a facial and might have no idea what’s possible for their skin,” says Hamels. “We want to be a more holistic, relaxed environment for these kinds of services.”
Everybody knows you shouldn’t skip the stretch after a workout. Everybody also knows folks skip out anyway.
Now there are two hot new workarounds on the Main Line: Stretch Zone in Haverford Square (above) and Kika Stretch Studios in Wayne.
Both are franchises new to the area that offer one-on-one, customized stretch sessions using proprietary “methods.” Trained stretchers do the work; clients don’t break a sweat.
Among the touted benefits: sharper sports performance and mental clarity, speedier recovery, injury prevention, improved circulation and posture, and relief from stress, chronic back pain, headaches and insomnia.
In the former Restore Cryo space in Haverford, Stretch Zone offers nationally accredited, “practitioner-assisted stretching” on cushioned tables in an open studio – a zone, if you will.
On North Wayne Ave. Kika’s stretch sessions are more private. Created by professional dancer Hakika Wise, the Kika Method© uses the body, the breath, and the gentle hands of a specially trained coach.
A simple floor test reveals your flexibility, aka your Kika Stretch Year. The goal? In Kika-speak: get younger.
What’s it like? Here’s a quick video of my visit to Kika, filmed by Spotlight Video Productions in Ardmore:
The Wayne studio is owned by Tredyffrin mom and Main Line Health bereavement counselor Beth Andres Bell, who tried Kika in NYC and was transfixed.
“Stretch is good for the body and the mind,” Bell says. “It parallels what I do for a living: individualized mental health counseling. The Kika Method offers private, one-on-one sessions for the client to come to the mat and experience a deep stretch based on their needs. We release tension that’s been trapped inside for years.”
Bell handpicked her coaches, former Stoga All-American Dante Coles, who’s a teacher at Malvern Prep, Megan Forgie, a fitness instructor and personal trainer, and her own son, Gavin Bell, a nationally ranked power lifter and a strength-and-conditioning coach.
Prices are akin to massages. “Yes, it’s a luxury item,” Bell admits. “But it’s really customized and packages can be shared with family and friends.”
Both studios report a strong response so far. Clients range from early teens to 80-somethings, from top athletes to folks with joint replacements.
Kika Stretch Studios, The Suburban Building, 134 N. Wayne Ave., 484-254-4020 or book online. 25-, 45- and 60-minute sessions, $50 – $90. Shareable, slightly discounted package plans.
By Dawn Warden
David Campli has built a career around other people’s milestones. This year, he celebrates his own – and it’s a biggie. Campli Photography is 30.
When he founded the company in 1990, Campli and his wife, Valerie, had just become parents, eagerly capturing their daughter’s smiles and silliness on film. Specializing in children’s photography was a natural jumping-off point.
As Campli’s family and reputation grew, so did the breadth of his portfolio. Today, he masterfully shoots just about everything: weddings, commercial architecture, business headshots, holiday cards, senior portraits, First Communions, Mitzvahs, and yes, lots of precocious tots.
“I didn’t realize all those years ago how working with kids and families would impact our business and personal lives,” Campli reflects, “I’m in constant awe that we’re shooting third- and fourth-generation kids and weddings.”
Sometimes the work is bittersweet. “One of the hardest things we do now is final portraits of aging or ailing family members,” he says. “It’s hard to express what it feels like, looking at that person through the lens, knowing it might be the last photograph taken.”
Portrait photography is personal, Campli says. “When you’ve got a baby, a headshot client, or several generations of a family on the other side of the camera, they have to feel comfortable with me – and with being themselves. Otherwise, I’m going to miss what’s under the surface. It takes more than a good eye to tell a story through portrait photography. You need a good ear.”
Campli has a few surprises to celebrate his 30th year in Malvern. One is The Enclave, a salon concept that will bring people into the studio for intimate events. First up is a Terrarium Garden Workshop March 12. (Click the blue box on the new SAVVY Calendar for details.)
After studies abroad in southern France and northern Africa, Ian Wilson knew he wanted to start a beverage business. He just wasn’t sure which one: wine or coffee?
Viticulture – from grape to bottle – would take too long. Ten years, he figured.
But coffee, particularly trendy cold brew, would be quicker. And profit margins were high.
And so, less than a year after his Penn State graduation in 2017, the Strafford native launched Valley Forge Coffee Reserve, named for the treasured hills in the national park he’d hiked as a child and Eagle Scout.
A one-man band (for now), Wilson whips up small-batch, foamy cold brew out of a certified kitchen in Wynnewood (below) and delivers it himself – by the keg – to a growing list of businesses, offices, and cafés.
Wilson explains why his cold brew is hot stuff in this short ’n sweet video from OnUp Media, SAVVY’s video partner.
Wilson says his product, which packs double the caffeine wallop of regular coffee, uses food-grade nitrogen. (A top competitor uses nitrous oxide, i.e. laughing gas, which Wilson says has been associated with health problems. “The industry is so new, there aren’t regulations.”)
Wilson services every tap line he installs. He says the large coffee companies that added cold brew to their hot lines don’t maintain their draft lines. “I have seen flies feeding off milk sugars in the draft lines of my competitors.” (Say what? Ewwww.)
Locally, Valley Forge Coffee Reserve is on tap at Valley Forge Flowers (he badgered them for months), Philly Bloke in Wayne, The Well at Wayne United Methodist Church, Malvern’s Greyhound Café and soon at the Radnor Hotel’s Glenmorgan Bar & Grill. It’s also in CBR’s Radnor offices and a few spots in Philly and Jersey. For those who want to chill out with their cold brew, Sage Café on Temple’s campus sells it with a shot of CBD.
A sign of healthier times at Paoli Shopping Center: Ashy’s Burger and Fries is out. Hawaiian-style, fast-casual fish shop Poké Bros. is in.
Sushi in a bowl, poke is ordered assembly-line style. Pick your:
- Protein: Cubed raw, sushi-grade tuna or salmon (plain, marinated or spicy) or cooked shrimp or chicken. (Or half and half).
- Base: white, brown, sticky sushi rice, salad or some combo thereof.
- Ingredients: Avocado, seaweed salad, edamame, corn, cucumber, pineapple, tofu, jalapeno et. al.
- Sauce: For a kick, try Siracha Aioli and Wasabi Aioli, which are most popular. Gochujang will have you breathing fire. Sweet Soy and Ponzu sauces are mild.
- Crunch: tempura flakes, crispy onion, wonton chips, sesame seeds, toasted cashews or coconut.
Bowls go for $8.50 for chicken to $11 for tuna and salmon. Almost all toppings are free. Six signature bowls start at $9.50. We tried the “Johnny Utah” and lapped it up.
The Paoli store has 38 seats, including eight at front-window counters. Owner is Jin Jin Cheng. His cousins, Lena and Denny Chen (below), moved here from sushi restaurants in NYC to manage the place.
Just 4 years old, the Poke Bros. chain has 35+ locations and counting.
Poke Bros., Paoli Shopping Center is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Order online for pickup or use Uber Eats for delivery.
By Cheryl Allison
Since 2005, when no less a member of cinema royalty than Sir Ben Kingsley (below) cut a reel of film to open the doors, Bryn Mawr Film Institute has become the Main Line’s movie-going mainstay.
As its 15th anniversary approaches on March 12, BMFI Board Members Jane Corrigan and Alice Bullitt and Marketing Director Gina Izzo sat down with SAVVY Main Line to reflect on memorable moments and the future of a brick-and-mortar theater in the age of streaming. The highlights:
Biggest box office hit – and a recent miss. Philly-set “Silver Linings Playbook” holds the record for the longest run: 16 weeks in 2012-13. Belying its title, “Bombshell” was a surprise dud.
Biggest celebs to grace its doors: Sir Ben was first. Other illustrious guests: directors David Lynch and Garry Marshall, actors Emily Blunt, Lee Grant, and Danny DeVito (below) and the full cast of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Board member Bullitt recalled the time DeVito was having such a good time down the street at The Grog that a staff member had to retrieve him for a Q&A.
Special attractions. The premiere of the “Downton Abbey” movie (below), presented in partnership with SAVVY Main Line, was a huge hit. “It was such a fun atmosphere. People came in costume. There was food from [Devon’s] Taste of Britain,” Corrigan recalled. Even after the party, “people were coming in their fascinators.”
Other memory-makers: the Internet Cat Video Festival (returning April 15!), the arrival of a DeLorean for “Back to the Future” Day and perennially popular “Sound of Music” singalongs.
Screen vs. stream. Streaming services have actually increased people’s appetite for content, Bullitt said. “People still want to be in a movie theater, to be part of a community.” BMFI has successfully screened Netflix movies like “Roma,” “The Irishman” and “A Marriage Story.” And while the “Downton Abbey” buzz began with TV, “people wanted to be in a space together to celebrate” the next step, Corrigan said.
Fun facts: A nonprofit, BMFI has one of the nation’s largest membership rolls for art-house theaters: 9,200 strong. Farthest supporters: two film buffs in Hawaii! Fully renovated after a $10-million campaign, the BMFI building began life as the grand movie palace, the Seville, whose 1926 façade and atrium remain intact.
Happy Birthday to you. Moviegoers on BMFI’s 15th birthday March 12 get mini-bundt cakes from Wynnewood’s Nothing Bundt Cake. Look for more special events throughout 2020!
The pews were packed at St. Luke United Methodist Church Feb. 23 as 20 local faith communities – Christians, Jews, Muslims, Baha’i – joined hands to explore racism, 400 years after slavery washed up on our shores.
Themed “The 1619 Project: Changing the Narrative in 2020,” the event was staged by POWER Main Line, a new offshoot of POWER Metro, which taps congregations and people of faith to organize against oppression.
Participants cut a wide cloth. Among them: Ardmore Progressive Civic Association, H-CAN, Gladwyne Presbyterian, Main Line Unitarian, Baha’i Community of the Main Line, Main Line Muslim Society, Beth David Reform Congregation, Main Line NAACP, and Baptist churches in Wayne, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Ardmore.
Inspired by The New York Times’ ongoing 1619 Project, the event began with Villanova history professor Dr. Maghan Keita’s historical perspective on slavery and racism. The Director of the Insitute for Global Interdisciplinary Studies at Villanova, Keita challenged the audience to rethink American identity.
Then came a fiery speech by teacher Sharon Bryant who’s battling health issues after working in one of Philly’s asbestos-laden schools, Lewis Cassidy Elementary School.
“How can this [school] be within walking distance of blue-ribbon Penn Wynne Elementary?” asked Bryant, who grew up in Lower Merion. She urged attendees to lobby Harrisburg for more equitable school funding.
Closing the discussion, Main Line racial justice advocate Anita Friday urged folks to “get out of their silos … Experience people whose lives are different than yours so you can hear a broader story.”
The fight for racial justice isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, Keita offered and Friday reiterated, and the first step is knowledge.
When Eileen Silcox Daly suffered a massive stroke, her adult children scrambled to find quality care for her in her Narberth home. Agencies would send caregivers but far too many were unreliable, gave spotty care, and didn’t communicate with the family. After 16 years of home care that progressed from four-hours-a-day to round-the-clock, Daly passed in 2013.
During her final years, the family did find a wonderful caregiver. But the first decade was a struggle. If only, the Daly kids had had, well, a 2nd family to help share the load.
Today, they might have.
Eileen Daly’s grandson, Sean Killeen, and Emily Glowacki, a registered nurse, just opened 2nd Family in Ardmore, the Maryland-based franchisor’s third location and its first in PA.
2nd Family is a high-tech yet humane solution to revolving-door senior care.
All caregivers must pass the “grandmom rule,” Killeen tells SAVVY. “No one gets sent to a house that you wouldn’t send to your own grandmother.” Only five percent of applicants – all of whom must be Certified Nurse Assistants and have driver’s licenses – are hired.
Before sending in a caregiver, Glowacki, a longtime nurse at Jefferson and Penn, visits the home. She assesses medical needs and the level of care needed, down to the nitty gritty of meals, meds, home access and more. “The home medical assessment is a big differentiator for us,” Killen says. “A lot of agencies are more like staffing agencies. They just make sure someone shows up.”
Glowacki then creates a detailed care plan which is entered in 2nd Family’s tech platform. And everyone – caregivers, family, 2nd Family – uses the app to track care and read daily notes from caregivers, who can’t clock out until they write them. (A far cry from notes scribbled on a legal pad, right?) A built-in GPS monitor also doesn’t allow caregivers to clock in until they’re inside the home.
2nd Family caregivers cost $28/hour with 4-hour visit minimums. Typical to home care, it’s private pay – covered by long-term care insurance but not Medicare.
The company launched in early February out of co-working space at Life Time in Ardmore. Killeen and Glowacki say they’re already fielding calls from “sandwich generation” friends struggling to care for young kids and elderly parents.
And coming full circle, 2nd Family’s very first hire was Eileen Silcox Daly’s favorite and last caregiver, Guerda Martinez. She had, after all, become second family.
If you follow Philly news, you know that Kensington – the open-air drug market dubbed “The Walmart of Heroin” by The New York Times – is in crisis.
What you might not know? Just how many Main Liners struggling with drug addiction end up there.
Two local filmmakers – Jill Frechie of Gladwyne and John Ricciutti of Villanova – just spent a year there, shooting a gut-wrenching, award-winning documentary, Kensington in Crisis.
Both volunteered their time to tell this five-alarm story, unfolding just minutes away from Main Line backyards.
“John and I have not stopped caring because filming has ended,” says Frechie, who learned to wear thick-soled shows as she crossed needle-littered streets. “We bring food and blankets to Prevention Point and find little ways to return. Kensington will be with me forever.”
Ricciutti says he struggled with PTSD after witnessing so many drug deals and people shooting up in the street. It was not unusual for the desperate women he filmed to offer him sex. Tragically, they called it “dating,” he says.
“Kensington In Crisis” just debuted to packed houses on the Main Line: at Radnor Township Building Feb. 11 and Main Line Unitarian Church Feb. 16.
Key takeaways from the post-film panel discussion in Radnor:
*The crisis hits closer to home than you might think. “Folks in Kensington didn’t come from Kensington,” said Kensington activist Roz Pichardo. “They’re from Radnor, they’re from Delco, They’re from the Main Line. We’re taking care of other people’s kids.” Consider getting trained to use Narcan, she urged. Called a “street angel,” Pichardo has saved more than 275 lives with the OD-reversing nasal spray.
*Because suburban kids can afford to pay more, Philly drug dealers are increasingly willing to make deliveries to the Main Line, said Radnor Police Lt. Joe Pinto, who heads the township’s drug task force. In this age of overdose, local police have had to become social workers and first-aid workers, he said.
*Heroin use is slowing but speed and cocaine abuse with fentanyl are rising, said nationally recognized substance-abuse disorder expert, Deni Carise, co-founder and Chief Science Officer at Recovery Centers of America, which chose to open a huge facility in Devon.
*After Eagles tight end Zach Ertz spent time in Kensington, he knew he had to do something. The Ertz Family Foundation plans to build an 85,000 sq. ft. space to bring hope, food and sports training to Kensington kids and teens, said Zach’s mom Julie, who moved to Philly to lead the foundation.
*Don’t dismiss safe injections sites out of hand, urged Wayne mom Cindy Munger, an activist for the recovery community. “’Safe injection’ is a media word. They’re really safe consumption sites,” she said. They offer clean syringes and a pathway to recovery, not to mention, test strips for the deadly opioid, fentanyl. The country’s first such site was set to open in South Philly this month but neighbors quashed it.
Kensington in Crisis will be screened at the Montgomery County Community College’s Pottstown campus March 27 at 5 p.m.
Happy news for home cooks: Williams Sonoma is back.
Closed at the King of Prussia Mall since January, the kitchen emporium has returned in a big, bright way at the KOP Town Center. Out with the old, vaguely French vibe. In with clean, industrial-yet-homey chic.
Williams Sonoma, which also owns Pottery Barn and West Elm, likes to say it’s designing the future of retail, where online and in-person shopping experiences are integrated.
It’s also shopping re-imagined as sensual feast – where items look, smell, feel and, if they’re demo’d in the centerpiece kitchen, even taste wonderful.
When no one is cooking, Veggies are kept sizzling on the grill (see photo above) – just for the smell.
“If you’re investing in new flatware, you want to be able to feel the fork in your hand,” KOP GM Dee Dee Gardiner tells SAVVY.
Other fun wrinkles: shelves devoted to locally made goodies (yay!), lots of product demos, chef visits and special events, including a Harry Potter Cookie party March 7 and St. Patrick’s Day favorites on March 8.
Four days after we saw her make the Final Four on “Project Runway,” Philly-bred designer Nancy Volpe-Beringer charmed the Main Line, too, appearing at Van Cleve Bridal in Paoli for a meet-and-greet.
At age 64, she’s the oldest and among the most avant-garde contestants in the show’s 18 seasons on Bravo TV.
Beringer just collaborated with Van Cleve on a nifty little “Transformation” line: “Organza Magic and “Day to Night” collars, over dresses, shrugs and skirts, that, presto-chango, come on and off with a tug.
Unique to Van Cleve: a detachable bridal white organza collar and skirt.
Volpe has famously undergone her own transformation. She quit a thriving career at age 58 to enroll in fashion design school at Drexel. Yup, she’s as daring as her wildly imaginative clothes.
We’ll be cheering for you Thursday night, Nancy. Bring that “Project Runway” crown back to Philly!
Just two years old, that Jane Winchester is one precocious toddler. The gypsy-coin jewelry line had already run roughshod over founder Jane Winchester Paradis’ knockout Wayne home – first confined to a home office and guest room, then overtaking the living room.
In early 2019 after what she calls a “bananas” holiday season, enough was enough. Time to reclaim the house and give the youngster a wider berth.
Paradis found a spot a bike ride from home, at 201 N. Aberdeen, for a showroom, office, warehouse and shipping center. It’s not a store, per se, but customers can make appointments to see the entire line or make exchanges.
“We love our neighbors at Do It Best [Hardware],” Paradis tells SAVVY. “It’s a lovely little community that we are so proud to be part of.”
The sparkling brand is sold at Menagerie in Eagle Village Shops and sprinkled at 20 shops across the country, but 90 percent of sales are online, Paradis says. “While we’re building a national brand, I LOVE our community and the way everyone locally has embraced Jane Winchester.”
Sometimes, the kids know best…
…Just ask the Fiskey-Kneafsey family in Merion.
If it weren’t for the insistence of their fourth- and sixth-grade sons, a devastating fire at their home could have been even worse.
The boys, Ryder (Merion Elementary) and Cooper (Bala Cynwyd Middle School), smelled smoke in the early morning hours of Dec. 28 and ran to wake up their father. When he said it was probably just exhaust from the dryer, they insisted he get up and check it out.
Turns out it was a fire in the basement. Using what they’d learned during Fire Prevention Week, the boys got everyone out safely, shutting doors behind them so the fire wouldn’t spread.
They lost all their Christmas presents to the fire and their home is still not inhabitable.
But if firefighters had been called even five minutes later, the family may have lost everything.
Last week, Lower Merion Fire Department honored the brothers for their quick thinking and offered them scholarships to its summer camp.
A GoFundMe for the family has raised more than $21,440 to date, way over its $10,000 goal.
Two Brothers + Two Books = One Smart Lunch. Join us. (3.12.20 UPDATE: EVENT POSTPONED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS)
China’s on our mind and not just because of coronavirus. Yours too?
Then join SAVVY’s Caroline O’Halloran at the next Smart Lunch, Monday, March 23 at the Radnor Township Building, hosted by our friends at Main Line School Night.
In conversation with Caroline: two brainy brothers from the Main Line: NPR correspondent Frank Langfitt, author of Shanghai Taxi, about his experiences in the New China, and local tort attorney David Langfitt, author of Winnabow, an international legal thriller set in Cape Fear, NC.
The two will discuss their inspirations, writing processes and what they learned along the way. We’re sure they’ll be plenty to chew on. Tickets include a lunch buffet: $42 or $35 for members. Order your tix today!
Two of the area’s pre-eminent mindfulness/meditation gurus just christened new space. Scott and Nancy Scott McBride (above) have moved ClearLight Meditation to new HQ at 233 Lancaster Ave. in Devon.
“It all began with a single afternoon teaching at St. David’s Episcopal years ago,” says Nancy.
ClearLight offers mindfulness, awakening and emotional healing courses, workshops, retreats and teacher training for all levels. Digital classes are coming soon.
This and that
Another big ole hole at the King of Prussia Mall. Primark has cut its space by a third. The Irish fast-fashion retailer now has a smaller chunk of the old Sears, which it’s been sharing with Dick’s, Yardhouse and Outback Steakhouse.
As usual, Main Line public high schools cleaned up on the 2019 SATs. Masterman in Philly was first in PA. Next was Downingtown STEM (2nd), Radnor (3rd), Conestoga (4th), Harriton (5th) and Lower Merion (8th).
With Flower Show prices up 37%, will the R-5 will be quite as packed with passengers this week? At least there’s no snow. Ticket to “Riviera Holiday” will set you back $48 at the door, $42 in advance, and some are balking.
Another fun fact about the 2020 Flower Show: There’s a booth by Keystone Shops, a medical marijuana company whose Radnor-bred CEO Mike Badey operates dispensaries in Devon, King of Prussia and beyond. Live pot plants are verboten but expect oodles of info at what may be the first-ever cannabis exhibit in a non-cannabis show. Goes without saying that it’s a Flower Show first. We hear the PA Horticultural Society initiated talks to integrate the multi-billion marijuana industry into its Show.
Want to weigh in on housing and development needs in Lower Merion? Residents have until March 15 to take this survey for the township’s 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan. Results will help determine how federal Community Development Block Grants will be spent.
Next week’s your chance to hit up all those new eateries in King of Prussia. Forty steakhouses, bistros and sports bars have signed on for KOP Restaurant Week March 9 to 15, which benefits CHOP. $10, $15 and $20 lunches; Dinners $20, $30 and $40. (Props to Sullivan’s Steakhouse for hosting the March 9 Ambassador Dinner for Mason Flanagan, a 16-year-old in Villanova who’s battling leukemia.) Retailers are also pulling out all the stops for CHOP. Twenty have joined “KOP Shops for CHOP.” All participants are donating a portion of the week’s proceeds to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, now building its first suburban inpatient hospital in KOP.
If you don’t accept the rose, we’re thinking you might at least say yes to free tickets to “The Bachelor Live on Stage” at The Met Philadelphia Friday, March 20. Suburban Square fashion jeweler Kendra Scott is hosting a kickoff shopping party Tuesday, March 10, 5 to 7 p.m. Wines, treats and a raffle to win two free tix to join “the most successful romance series in TV history” (just ask ‘em). Can’t make it to Ardmore? Apply to be a Philly contestant here. You might just get pulled from your seat to meet our hometown Bachelor, still a Mystery Man – his ID is still TBA.
Roast + Chop Radnor is no more. The successor to Shredwich at St. David’s Square, the fast-casual eatery closed three years after its 2017 Valentine’s Day debut.
A sign on the door of BellaDonna ReFind, the home furnishings consignment store below BellaDonna Gifts in central Wayne, says it’s closed.
It’s March, aka time to put out blue lights for colon cancer awareness. Look for 30 iconic buildings from The Times Building in Suburban Square to Boathouse Row to the Ben Franklin Bridge to join this year’s Blue Lights Campaign. Leading the charge is Haverford’s Marianne Gordon Ritchie, longtime gastroenterologist at Jefferson. According to Ritchie, colon cancer is the #2 cause of cancer death, killing more people than breast cancer. And it’s preventable, although, sadly, more than a third of age-appropriate Americans don’t get screened.
Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn is conjuring up “Main Line Magic” Friday, March 13. No Amateur Hour, the show features three world-class magicians – Calvin Tan, Steve Friedberg and Shreeyash Palshikar – who’ll perform amazing sleights of hand and illusions. No smoke. No mirrors. Tickets are $30. Discounts for students, senior and military. We hear the Inn may soon be back on the market so if you’ve always dreamed of becoming an innkeeper…
What if your high schooler studying in Israel was suddenly moved without your knowledge or consent? And not because of the coronavirus. Some Harriton, Lower Merion and Barrack Hebrew Academy parents are fuming after a popular school in Israel, Alexander Muss High School, overbooked a session and ran out of dorm space in February. Without getting parents’ OK, the school made plans to send their children to a facility 20 minutes off campus, a place the school has never used. Parents were only notified in a conference call and are considering suing for breach of contract. “It is quite alarming that JNF is trading in the reputation of the school for more funds,” says Anat Cohen whose daughter, a sophomore at Harriton, has been studying in Israel since Jan. 29.
Radnor-based mental-health non-profit DMAX Foundation’s annual educational event is going glam.
Supermodel, body-image advocate and longtime National Eating Disorders Association amabassador EMME (above) will give the keynote the evening of April 16 at the Baldwin School. Special guests include storyteller Robyn Shumer, Johnson & Johnson Mental Health ambassador Craig Kramer and Bryn Mawr teen singer-songwriter Maxie Mandel. Tickets are $50, $75 for VIPs. Free for college students and for high schoolers attending with a parent.
Devon’s Jenkins Arboretum is teeing up two timely talks: “Dealing with Climate Change in Your Landscape” by EcoBeneficial founder Kim Eierman, Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. And “Gardening in Deer Country,” March 22, also at 2 p.m. and led by Jenkins’ Horticulture Director Steve Wright. Registration required.
Calling all party-throwers! SAVVY’s all-new event calendar is up and rolling along. (Check out the bright blue boxes on our right sidebar.) Contact [email protected] to list your event (with images!) for a small handling fee.
****And finally, how can SAVVY serve you better? If you haven’t yet done so, hope you’ll take two minutes to take our snappy, six-question survey. Your turn to fill us in. If you need a nudge: Everyone who takes the survey gets entered in a drawing for six yummy bottles of Sarah Jessica Parker’s new Sauvignon Blanc, Invivo X AND two free tix to a wine education class/tasting at Bryn Mawr’s What Am I Drinking. Take the SAVVY Main Line survey here. Survey closes Sunday, March 8.***